|E. Ridge Rd. Monaghan Township, York County PA|
I actually find these next two months or so the darkest time of the year for our walks. Once the leaves begin to fall, the sky overhead becomes visible and that opened-up vista makes walking at night much easier, even when no moon lights the sky. At the moment, the leaves serve as an impenetrable barrier to light from above. And so we walk more cautiously now.
The headlamp lights the way but doesn’t help much with navigating the little ups and downs of a dirt road. The depth of potholes or even uneven ground is hard to judge or to see. It takes some getting used to for me, accustomed as I have been for these last 4-5 months for walking in the morning light. I have reached the time of year when our morning walks no longer venture off the dirt roads. Early in the summer we wandered off-road and even off-trail. No longer. The footing on the dirt roads is chancy enough.
The gloomy weather is also slowing or even halting migration this week. Counters sit on hawkwatches all day long and don’t see more than a handful of birds. I’ve been searching diligently for nighthawks to no avail. Either they aren’t flying or they are flying above the gloom. I will keep looking. They are a cool bird, these odd little nightjars. Tonight doesn’t seem as though it will be much better, but I still will look. Perhaps it will clear enough or perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to see them.